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ZZNS Sterilisation Section Conference 2003
The Meaning of Quality in Sterilization
Conference Report


Conference Report
by Andreja Zagar

23 May 2003
Terme Catez, Slovenia


Conference Report

The Sterilisation Section of the ZZNS (Nurses Association of Slovenia) organized one day annual seminar under the theme The Meaning of Quality in Sterilization.

Around 130 participants were there. A wide profile of people from different spheres of medicine - central sterilization, operating rooms, dispersaries, microbiology and veterine medicine.

Eleven different industrial exhibitors of sterile material took part at the conference. They presented novelties in these small but dynamic market.

The purpose of the conference was to achieve the highest level of quality in our work. The duties and the main tasks are evident; all products intended for patient treatment have to be processed correctly. This should be our contribution to a complete and high quality patient treatment, also with respect to financial savings.

Secondly, we should focus on our working place and take care of the employees' health. On these problematics we arranged three lectures:

Physical burdening at sterilization work

We paid attention to some of the possible harms and consequenses (physical, chemical, biological, psyhological). The lecture was written based on research work carried out by Central Sterilization, Maribor Hospital. The analysis indicates increasing demands at the sterilization workplace. Research also indicates that more than fifty percent of the employees are women. The employees are qualified for the work in sterilization. Physical work in sterilization is still undervalued.

Two interesting lectures: The correct lifting of loads (freight)

Advices about the correct lifting of loads, considering the right body positure. Very interesting topic; the lectures were of a very high quality according to the public response.

The next three lectures: The European standards in sterilization.

Our purpose was to introduce the standards system and to explain the demands of some individual standards. This was followed by a video presentation of the steam sterilization process.

Mr Peter Brown, Albert Brown International, introduced the indicator validation. Then practical application of the Bowie Dick Test and also discussion about the practical use of biological indicators at sterilization quality control.

In the last part of conference we touched on the technical documentation guidance.

We realized that documentation is very important and that we want to improve and superstructure our documentation system for systematically storing and examining useful data. We are trying to create standard forms (blanks). At the conference we presented new documentation forms for the technical supervision and maintenance of sterilizer devices. These forms are being tested in the main hospitals in Slovenia. We realize that devices need to be faultless to carry out successful and high-quality work. To achieve this we need good control over the devices' history.

The technical form (data) should contain the following following:

  1. Technical sterilizer information, validation, service personnel signature
  2. Daily supervision and cleaning - working personnel duties
  3. Failure report - working personnel to describe device damage (start time and consequences) to the service staff.
  4. Periodical checks (monthly, three months, six months and annual check)
  5. Validation and pressure tests


  • Suitable documentation would offer entire view of the device operations.
  • Organized technical documentation prevents unannounced technical damage and increases the productivity in sterilization.
  • Achieving higher quality of work and increasing the life expectancy of the device.
  • Offering more safety at work for working personnel. Considering devices under pressure.
  • Financal control and savings.
  • Systematic technical device information updates are helpful to the service personnel.

So far, this year's annual conference was the largest on the topic of sterilization in Slovenia. On this occasion I would like to thank the EFHSS for promoting our conference on the website. Upgrading the technologies and knowledge requires information and views to be exchanged between different people. Share your experience with us and be welcome to our conference in 2004.

Andreja Zagar, Nurse
Nurses Association of Slovenia - Sterilization Section
Institute of Oncology, Ljubljana